Our strategic planning session early this year resulted in an organization vision, concrete fund raising goals, and a proposed organization structure, as well as identifying next steps. The top barrier (and therefore priority) to organizational health and growth is sustainable funding. Key ongoing initiatives will be:
Working to deliver one game event per month that will serve as a community & sponsor engagement opportunity. These game events will be selected strategically to build relationships with potential sponsors or offer value to current sponsors.
Creating a new structure for Board and committees, with clear vision, mandate, structure and goals. Committees now include; the Executive; Fundraising and Finance; Operations; and Communications.
Regarding Charitable Status, the application prepared by Allison and others is now before lawyers for review, prior to submission to the federal government. With Charitable Status in place, we will be much better able to achieve a sustainable funding model.
Led by Sarah and her fundraising team there were a number of fundraising successes, including: grants and/or donations from LUSH, Vancity, The Southsiders, RED Academy, Craft Beer, UBC Med, and Via Sport. In addition we raised over $6,000 from individuals this year!
There was another successful participation in June Sports at Alert Bay, by 25 players and volunteers. This annual event is the highlight of our year and provides us with the opportunity to work on team building and to connect with indigenous communities. This year, we received the good sportsmanship award and were featured in the UK Guardian newspaper. Special thanks to Temple Sholom for again providing meals for the event.
We continue outreach into the larger Vancouver area community.
We have received recognition and support from the City of Vancouver; every year we play a game with the mayor and the police and we have recently been recognized with the City of Vancouver Award for Diversity and Inclusiveness.
We have developed valuable partnerships with other non-profits in our community, including Covenant House, Portland Hotel Society, the University of British Columbia (UBC Rec, UBC Medicine, and UBC Thunderbirds Women’s Soccer), the Megaphone and Simon Fraser University.
We operate an impressive practice schedule, with indoor or outdoor experiences on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (am and pm), Saturday and Sunday, with players like Patrick, John, Johnny and Ricky running practice sessions that have become key components in our program.
In addition, we organized or participated in a long list of special events, including games with Feyenoord Rotterdam FC, Vancity, Craft, VPD, BoFo Kettle, SFU Varsity Soccer, RED Academy, Megaphone, Southsiders, and LUSH, as well as our annual tournament with UBC Rec, a successful end-of-summer celebration BBQ by Alli, Andre and Adrian, a tournament for women organized by Charles in North Vancouver, and the already mentioned June Sports.
Our players continue to impress and make a difference. Rick, Patrick, John, Cheyenne, Dennis and Jose show leadership and mentoring for new and younger players, provide invaluable support for the coaches and volunteers at practices and events, and are instrumental in identifying and attracting new players; Norma, Debbie, Allyssa, Jenny, Veronica and others give valuable input to our general operations and specific insights into how we make sure that we are seen as a welcoming place for all; Rose-Marie, Stevie, Dennis and Johnny continued their membership on the Board. There are many more examples of player excellence. Most importantly our players constantly reinforce our goal of providing a safe soccer community for all.
We have superb coaches and volunteers. Our UBC Med students get more involved every year. Kurt’s constant attention to the program has resulted in many of the excellent events that have raised our profile and gained valuable supporters and donors; Sarah W is enthusiastically leading our Communications and Corporate Sponsorship initiatives; Arun rationalized and automated our financial management and reporting system, and we now find ourselves in a healthy financial position; Lurdes developed our Volunteer Orientation Package; Dan advanced our approaches to behavior standards and safety related issues.
Thanks to our sponsors: Avtiare, Craft Beer, Fairware, Farpost, LUSH, Portland Hotels, RED Academy, Soccerwest, Social Conscience, Southsiders, Temple Sholom, UBC Med students, UBC Thunderbirds Women, VanCity, City of Vancouver, and the Whitecaps.
Thanks to all players, coaches, volunteers and sponsors for your hard work on behalf of the VSSL.
Steve McMinn, President
October 28, 2016